Norwegian version of this page

Strategies for co-constructing meaning in talk with multilingual speakers with dementia (completed)

What challenges do multilingual speakers with dementia and their relatives and caregivers face in their everyday conversations? And what strategies do speakers use for overcoming these challenges?

This postdoctoral project is part of MultiLing's flagship project MultiLing Dementia.


Anne Marie Landmark.

Photo: Nadia Frantsen, UiO.

About the project

This project examines everyday communication between multilingual speakers with dementia of the Alzheimer’s type and their caregivers, relatives and friends. Neurological illnesses which may cause dementia has severe consequences for the person itself, as well as for their relatives and significant others. Linguistic and cognitive impairment poses particular difficulties for maintaining social and communicative abilities, which is important for their relations, well-being and quality of life. Little is known about naturally occurring language use by elderly with dementia, and even less is known about how the combination of multilingualism and dementia play out in actual language use (Plejert et al., forthcoming).

The aim in this project is to gain insight into what resources multilingual elderly with dementia, and their conversational partners, use for establishing understanding, meaning and carrying out activities together in their daily life, thus giving insight into how multilingual speakers suffering from dementia “actually engage with the world” (Antaki, 2011). By focusing on participants’ capabilities and competencies despite speech impairments, practitioners can make direct use of the findings.

Video recordings of naturally occurring conversations between multilingual speakers with Alzheimer’s disease and caregivers or family members will be analyzed using CA techniques (Sidnell & Stivers, 2013). This methodology enables investigation of how speakers with dementia, as well as their conversation partners, compensate for linguistic impairment in order to achieve mutual understanding.

Findings from the project has the potential to support care providers and family members of multilingual persons with dementia, by specifying advice and tailoring training for how to best communicate with multilingual elderly with dementia.




Plejert, C.,Lindholm, C.., & Robert W. Schrauf, R.W. (forthcoming). Multilingual interaction and dementia. Multilingual Matters.

Antaki, C. (2011). Applied conversation analysis: Intervention and change in institutional talk. Palgrave Macmillan.

Sidnell, J., & Stivers, T. (2013). The Handbook of conversation analysis. Chichester: Wiley-Blackwell.

Tags: Multilingual language practices
Published Mar. 6, 2017 2:57 PM - Last modified Jan. 24, 2021 4:58 PM